El Centro's World Civilization Comparative Religions Chart
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These religions reflect the choices of the students and is not meant to suggest other religions are not equally important in world history.
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Index for This Page: Hinduism, Maya, and Aztec
Beliefs about the Afterlife
What is God? Who are the Gods?
Rituals and Festivals
El Centro's Aztec & Inca Links Page
|In the beginning (don't they all start this way?), this universe was nothing but the self (Purusha) in the firm of a man. It looked around and saw that there was nothing but itself, whereupon its first shout was, "It is I!" From this, the concept of "I" arose. Then he was afriad. But, he consider: "Since there is no one here buy myself, what is there to fear?" The fear departed. However, he still lacked delight and desired a second. He was exactly as large as a man and woman embracing. This self then divided itself in two parts; and with that there was male and female. They then embraced, and from that the human race arose. She, however, reflected, "How can he unite with me, who am produced from himself? Well, then, let me hide!" So, she became a cow, then he a bull and united with her; and from that cattle arose. She became a mare, he a stallion; she an ass, he a donkey and united with her; and from that solid-hoofed animals arose. Thus they poured forth all pairing things, down to the ants. Then they said "I, actually, am creation; for I have poured forth." (Sanskrit srstih: "that which is poured forth.") Anyone understanding this becomes, truly, himself a creator in this creation. (Brihadaranyaka Upanishad, 1.4.1-5) This creation myth is only one of about 200 variations. GH||The first fully formed men to be created were called the Wizard of the Fatal Laugh, the Wizard of the Night, the Careless and the Black Wizard. They were endowed with intelligence and they knew everything in the world. When they looked they would see everything that was around them, and they constantly contemplated the arch of the sky and the round face of the earth. Then the creator said: "You know everything now...what are we going to do with them? That their sight may only reach what is near them, that they may only see a small part of the face of the earth. Are they not by their nature simple creatures, products of our hands? Do they also have to be gods?" - The Popol-Vuh of the Mayas-Quiche (AS||The mother of the Aztec creation story was called "Coatlique," the Lady of the Skirt of Snakes. She was created in the image of the unknown, decorated with skulls, snakes, and lacerated hands. There are no cracks in her body and she is a perfect monolith (a totality of intensity and self-containment, yet her features were square and decapitated). Coatlique was first impregnated by an obsidian knife and gave birth to Coyolxanuhqui, goddess of the moon, and to a group of male offspring, who became the stars. Then one day Coatlique found a ball of feathers, which she tucked into her bosom. When she looked for it later, it was gone, at which time she realized that she was again pregnant. Her children, the moon and stars did not believe her story. Ashamed of their mother, they resolved to kill her. A goddess could only give birth once, to the orginal litter of divinity and no more. During the time that they were plotting her demise, Coatlicue gave birth to the fiery god of war, Huitzilopochtli. With the help of a fire serpent, he destroyed his brothers and sister, murdering them in a rage. He beheaded Coyolxauhque and threw her body into a deep gorge in a mountain, where it lies dismembered forever. The natural cosmos of the Indians was born of catastrophe. The heavens literally crumbled to pieces. The earth mother fell and was fertilized, while her children were torn apart by fratricide and then scattered and disjoined throughout the universe. AS|
|The soul never dies. When the body
dies, the soul is reborn. This continuous
process of rebirth is called reincarnation.
The soul may return as an animal or as a
human, but Hindu doctrine is not clear on
this point. The law of karma states that
every action influences the soul that will be
born in the next reincarnation. If a
person lives an evil life, the soul will
be born into a lower state, even a worm.
A person's reincarnation continues until he
or she achieves spiritial perfection. The
soul then enters a new level of existence
from which it neer returns. YT
Hinduism accepts the concept of reincarnation, the idea that at the end of each life, the individual is born again in another existence in order to carry on his or her evolutionary path. Hindus see the individual as composed of two elements. One is the personality self and the other is the part of the indivicual which is Brahman. ER
What is God? Who are the gods?
|Although people associate Hinduism with a multiplicy of Gods, in fact there is only one supreme Absolute, so absolute that we coul not even use the term God to depict it. This absolute is called Brahman and everything in life, whether living or not comes from Brahman. Every creature, living or not comes from Brahman. Every creature, plant, individual, stone, tree - everything in existence has its source as Brahman. This means that Brahman is in all things and each thing is a part of Brahman; this is called pantheism. ER||Aztecs worshipped hundreds of gods and
goddesses, each of whom ruled one or more
human activities or aspects or nature. The
people had many agricultural gods because
their culture was based heavily on farming.
They also included natural elements and
ancestor-heroes. These gods included:
|There are two kinds of sacred writings in Hinduism, with the Scruti being the oldest and most sacred. The teachings they left for the Hindus are believed to be universal laws, unchangeable and eternal. Scruti is divided into two main parts, the Vedas and the Upanishads.ER|
Rituals & Festivals
|Hinduism considers temples as buildings dedicated to divinities. Its followers worship as individuals, not as congregations. Most Hindu temples have many shrines, each of which is devoted to a divinity. Each temple also has one principal shrine devoted to a single important god or goddess. The shrines portray the divinities in sculptured images. Hindus treat these images as living human beings. Everyday, for example, priests wash and dress the images and bring them food. Hindus do not consider this idol worship. They believe the divinities are actually present in the images. Hindu temples hold annual festivals commemorating events in the lies of the divinities. Huge crowds go there for these festivals. They come to worship, to pray for assistance, and to enjoy the pagaentry of the event. Millions of Hindus visit temples along the Ganges River, the most sacred river in India. Hindu temples hold annual festivals commemorating events in the lives of the divinities. YT|
Students Who Created This Chart